IFLA Trend Report: riding the waves or caught in the tide

From privacy and surveillance to hyper-connectivity, Marydee Ojala encourages librarians everywhere to respond to IFLA's "tremendously important" report.

Page 1 of 2 next >>

Ever wondered about the implications of someone wearing Google Glass walking into your library? Instantly, everyone present is under surveillance. If automated translation tools benefit us by breaking down language barriers, do they also remove the cultural context from the text being translated? Can results from search engines, driven by algorithms derived by commercial entities, be trusted?

What about privacy? Not only are we contributing our personal data to the world at large via social media, but the expanding data sets held by governments and companies support advanced profiling of individuals. Sophisticated data mining, monitoring and filtering technologies facilitate tracking individuals. What does this mean for individuals and libraries?

These are only a few of the perplexing and thought provoking questions posed in the IFLA Trend Report, "Riding the Waves or Caught in the Tide," presented during the association's 2013 World Library & Information Congress, held in Singapore in August, by Ingrid Parent, IFLA president. 

The privacy implications of technology will be addressed during the Internet Librarian International conference in London in October by Phil Bradley and it will be interesting to see if he pulls in any of the trends identified by the IFLA Trends Report.

Five high-level trends

The Trend Report (trends.ifla.org) identified five trends in what Parent described as an "insights document." The trends are:

1. New technologies will both expand and limit who has access to information.

2. Online information will transform and disrupt traditional learning.

3. Boundaries of data protection and privacy will be redefined.

4. Hyper-connected societies will listen to and empower new groups.

5. The global information economy will be transformed by new technologies.

The trends are not unique to the library and information communities; they have implications for many parts of society. The process, which took almost a year, started with a literature review, followed by a meeting of ten experts in March 2013 in Mexico City.

Page 1 of 2 next >>